Protestors gathered in Aberdeen on Friday to voice their discontent at the UK government’s continued backing for fossil fuels within its net zero strategy.
This week Rishi Sunak’s government announced a “multi-billion pound investment in energy revolution” which includes measures designed to deliver a “radical shift” from “expensive, foreign fossil fuels” to clean, affordable power.
Hundreds of millions of pounds are being made available for floating offshore wind and green hydrogen, and the “Track” 2 carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) process, of which Peterhead’s Acorn is a “leading contender”.
However, to those gathered in Aberdeen today, this plan is not moving fast enough and the commitment to CCUS does not inspire confidence.
Keris Gough, an Aberdeen University student and a campaigner for Fight for Future Scotland said: “Last week the IPCC released a newly updated report, reiterating how serious climate change and how little time we have to act.
“But just yesterday the UK government launched its net zero strategy plan that just puts focus on carbon capture, which is bulls*** and doesn’t work.”
The Aberdeen protestors also accused the government of “continuing to fund oil and gas projects”, while some held banners emblazoned with the ‘Stop Rosebank’ campaign.
Amid the planned announcements on energy policy, there was speculation this week that the UK government would also give the go-ahead to the controversial oil field West of Shetland.
While no rubber stamp has yet been given, Equinor’s senior vice president for the UK Arne Gurtner told an OEUK event he wants the industry to be talking about final investment decision on Rosebank by the time Offshore Europe rolls around.
Jen, a climate scientist turned activist, travelled from Glasgow to attend the protest action outside of Aberdeen’s Bon Accord shopping centre.
She said: “We are going to be hosting a people’s assembly on a just transition here in Aberdeen later this year.
“We have a top-down system of oppression and greed, essentially, and that system is one size fits all. It doesn’t.”
The move away from fossil fuels and towards renewables needs to be adapted to the people of individual regions, Jen believes.
She said: “The response from the people of Aberdeen and the people of Glasgow are going to be very different and we need to accept and respect that.”